09 Jan COVID-19: Reducing isolation period would be ‘help’, but government has to be ‘careful’ – Zahawi | Politics News
A cabinet minister has said he is in favour of reducing the coronavirus isolation period from seven days to five – provided the move is backed by officials.
Speaking to Trevor Phillips on Sunday, Nadhim Zahawi said the issue is something that the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) is looking at.
The education secretary stressed the government would have to be “careful” about bringing in the change, saying: “What you don’t want is to create a negative outcome by higher levels of infection.”
Mr Zahawi said it would “help mitigate some of the pressures on schools”, but added he would defer to the UKHSA on the matter.
“It would certainly help mitigate some of the pressures on schools, on critical workforce and others,” he said.
“But I would absolutely be driven by advice from the experts, the scientists, on whether we should move to five days from seven days.
“What you don’t want is to create the wrong outcome by higher levels of infection.”
His comments come after the Sunday Times quoted him as saying that if the move was recommended by the UKHSA it would be “helpful”.
At the moment, people in England who test positive can end their isolation period if they receive a negative lateral flow test on days six and seven – with the tests taken 24 hours apart.
If they still test positive, they have to remain in isolation for 10 days.
This change was introduced just before Christmas, but there have been calls for the government to go further due to continuing pressure on the NHS and workplaces amid the continuing spread of the Omicron variant.